Tuesday, 17 September 2013

What is a Writer?

I was clearing out my email inbox the other day, reading through blog emails about writing that had languished there for weeks when one of them caught my attention.
It was from RoW80, a year round event that I have mentioned before. It was all about remembering to have fun with writing again. And then this bit jumped out at me.

Write yourself a letter or a list about why you started writing—include what drew you in, what you love most about it, why you want to write.  Keep this someplace where you can see it and read it often to remind yourself that you love this work.”

I realised that in my focus on finishing a novel and figuring out how to publish it when I did eventually finish it I’d forgotten what I loved about writing. I’d lost sight of what brought me to writing in the first place, why I kept pushing despite never finishing or publishing anything. I’d gotten so caught up in being able to call myself a writer that I’d forgotten the joy it in, the excitement and pure love that I had felt as I first put those words down on a page. So I decided that I would take the suggestion from the post and try it out, try and see if it helped me find the fun in writing again. That's why at some point this month I'll be writing a post all about why I'm a writer.

Then I moved on to another email, and saw something similar. It was a link in an email from Joanna Penn of TheCreativePenn.com to an article another writer had written about the difference between career writers and ‘one-book writers’ as she called them. The entire thing made me question what exactly I wanted from writing. More importantly it made me question what kind of writer I wanted to be;

The one-book writer

“The one-book writer wants to be published, to maybe have a book hit a bestseller list or win an award, to be legitimately called a writer who has credentials....”

The Career writer

“The Career Writer is in this for the long haul. She has dozens if not hundreds of books in her. She wants to make a living – a good living – from writing those books.... this writer wants to spend her life telling stories and/or sharing information”
Now at one point I was probably the first kind of writer, the one-book writer, who wanted to see my name in a book in bookstores. Now though I want to make a living out of writing. The thing is though, if you read the rest of the post that this comes from, I’m not sure if I’m at the level of being a career writer. I’m getting there, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not there. Yet.

I hope to be one day though and in the meantime, while I’m writing and editing I’ll also learn what I need to learn about the writing business. After all, the world of publishing is forever changing and growing and the traditional publishing houses seem slow to catch up. I can figure out what is best for me as a writer and how I can make my dreams happen.

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